CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews
Norwegian Cruise Line
January 5, 2008
Just finished a 7 day cruise on the Norwegian Sun to the Western Caribbean.
Departure from Miami on Saturday, January 5, 2008 and returned on January 12, 2008.
The itinerary was:
Sat. 1/5: Leave Miami at 4PM
Sun 1/6: Day at Sea
Mon 1/7: Roatan (Honduras)
Tue 1/8: Belize
Wed 1/9: Cozumel
Thu 1/10: Day at Sea
Fri 1/11: Great Stirrup Cay (NCL private island in Bahamas)
Sat 1/12: Return to Miami at 7AM
We were in a balcony stateroom (Viking Deck 8 Aft).
Firstly this was a very good cruise, for a number of reasons:
The Norwegian Sun turned out to be a wonderful boat to spend a week on.
The itinerary was great, interesting ports of call and not too much time at sea.
Great weather ( high 70's to low 80's and no rain the entire week).
If you're looking for a nice vacation, in a relaxing environment, but with also things to do and see, would suggest this specific ship and itinerary for that experience.
I'm going to stay away from too many details found so often in other postings.
Honestly, I really don't care if on Thursday morning at breakfast NCL slightly burned the toast of one of 1800 passengers, and supposedly ruined their entire holiday. Will leave that kind of stuff for others to elaborate on elsewhere.
As far as my takeaways and thoughts from this cruise;
About the Boat Itself
Feel that the Norwegian Sun is a good boat to cruise on. Not too big but with all the typical amenities ( gym, pool, whirlpools, spa etc.) that you need.
We ate every dinner except one in either of the two main dining rooms (Seven Seas or Four Seasons). In all instances the food was tasty, well prepared and presented with exemplary wait service. There was always a variety of appetizers and main entrees to choose from that were appealing. One night we ate in the Pacific Heights restaurant for dinner (no surcharge) it also was fine.
We usually ate breakfast and often lunch in the outdoor dining space on deck 11 on the aft of the ship that was called the Great Outdoor Café. In the morning there were two omelet stations, eggs and breakfast meats and all the accoutrements, fruit, cereal and pastries. The food was very good and this particular space on the boat was just wonderful for sitting outside (under cover from the sun) and to enjoy a meal.
We went to every evening show in the Stardust Theater, and although obviously not to Broadway quality production levels, were usually (but not always) entertaining.
The three song/dance productions, by an outside firm contracted by NCL called Jean Ann Ryan, were particularly good. Young actors, singers and dancers who tried very hard to please their audience.
The comedians, however, were another story. Think that NCL needs to take a look at who they book, comedy wise. Fair to poor is being overly gratuitous.
The passenger participation shows in Dazzles (the night club) like Family Feud and Jeopardy were also entertaining.
We'd often stop and have a drink in one of areas with live music, like Deck 12 Observation, occasionally danced, again very nice.
Not a gambler so no comments on the Casino.
During the two days at sea, like many others, sunned, read a book and just relaxed. One remark that I did hear from our cruise mates is that during these sea days, options for things to do on board (to keep occupied) were somewhat "light." Again, we were happy doing nothing but did want to share that comment that I did hear more than once.
About the Ports of Call
Roatan: Must see island. Very undeveloped but you sensed it was on the cusp of becoming a hot tourist destination. Using the internet, identified Victor Bodden tours. For $100 for the entire day, we had a car and private driver, who took us around. We went first to the east end, visited an iguana farm and toured. Then we went to the west end, to a private beach (Half Moon Bay), snorkeled, lounged and had a great fish lunch. Highly recommend Victor as an option for others to use when at Roatan. Our guide named Kem was terrific.
Belize: Again, independent of the boat, we booked a full day (7 hour) tour to Lamanai, the Mayan ruins. Used Extreme Excursions, about $75 per person. This is fun. You took a van ride for an hour, then get on an 8 to 10 passenger boat, and for an hour go up a river to reach the ruins. Our guide was IC (Icodore was his formal name). A little wacky but boy did he know the river and his Mayan history, which greatly added to the experience. Going to the site, we stopped numerous times along the river to get within inches of a sunning crocodile. We also saw monkeys, birds, etc. At Lamanai itself, we saw the well preserved remnants of a Mayan city believed to be populated with 50,000 around 900 AD, with two great monuments (100 steps each), ball courts and sacrificial altars. We did get a little spooked however as we were walking back to the boat and IC pointed out fresh leopard tracks on the path we were on.
Cozumel: We used a taxi to get to and return from the Paradise Beach Club, a no entry fee (please buy drinks and food) beach area about 15 minutes from where we docked. It was fine, it was a beach. The water was clear, clean and very quiet. It was a relaxing place to chill out. Not much snorkeling action, but they did have water equipment for both adults and children to use. We then walked around in the city before re-boarding.
Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's Private Beach: And finally we went to Great Stirrup Cay. It was also good. We had a nice barbecue for lunch, and again the water was wonderful.
Hope this gives you a brief synopsis of our recent vacation. Again, would not hesitate to recommend either the Norwegian Sun or this itinerary to others.